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Phileas Fogg and Passepartout approach the Swiss Alps

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Hiking and Backpacking

Ah, Wilderness!  We wish there were more trees and less cars!
 
Hiking is a form of walking undertaken to enjoy and explore the scenery. It usually takes place on trails in national parks, forests, wilderness areas and other rural areas.  Trails are referred to as tracks in some areas of the world. Day hikes are popular where a person only hikes for a few hours, or even all day, but does not camp overnight on the trail.  A day hiker usually has just a day pack with water, a map, compass, some food, and emergency equipment including raingear and a first aid kit.  Bushwalking (Australia), tramping (New Zealand) and trekking are other terms used for hiking.  Some areas of the world have huts that hikers can stay in overnight. Wikipedia has a good article on hiking.
 
Backpacking combines hiking and camping in a single trip.  A backpacker chooses a trail that will take days to hike or just hikes into the backcountry to spend one or more nights there exploring and enjoying the scenery. He or she carries a backpack that contains supplies and equipment to be self sufficient. It will have the same things as a day pack plus additional food, a sleeping bag, and sometimes a tent.  Backpacking is also referred to as trekking, tramping or bushwalking depending on where you are in the world and the extent of the hike.  Wikipedia has a good article on backpacking.

Many young people travel to other countries to go hiking or backpacking.  They usually stay at youth hostels and Backpacker hotels because it is cheaper and also for the comradeship.  It is not uncommon for hikers and backpackers to carry a cell phone or GPS device to know where they are at or to be able to call or signal for help in case of an emergency.

Many companies and organizations offer hiking and backpacking experiences. See our
Adventure Travel section of our site for companies that offer hiking and backpacking experiences.   Some of the travel agency and travel guide websites have sections on hiking or adventure travel.

Trail Maintenance.  There are also trail maintenance projects that you can join. Some of them involve a day and some are overnight, such as on a weekend, or require a longer stay.

Travel Insurance.  Don't forget to get travel insurance in case you are injured and need medical attention or your trip is interrupted, delayed or cancelled. 

 

Search the Web
If you are looking for information on hiking or backpacking in a specific place (e.g., mountain range, park, or country) and want to search the web, here are some suggested query formats:
Use this format Example
Hiking in <place>   Hiking in Ecuador
Hiking + <place>   Hiking Canary Islands
Hiking in the <mountain range>   Hiking in the Andes
Hiking + <trail name>   Hiking the Appalachian trail
Trekking in + <place or mountain range>   Trekking in Nepal
Backpacking in <country or park name>   Backpacking in New Zealand

 

 
 
Hiking and Backpacking Worldwide

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Trail Guides Worldwide
Trails.com If you want to find trails in the United States, Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, this is the website to visit.  It is the mother of all trail websites for those areas of the world. They have over 30,000 trails listed - Trails of all kinds including hiking trails, mountain bike trails, road biking routes, running trails, walking trails, snowshoe trails, paddle routes, rail trails or just about any other type of trail you will find in both cities and the countryside. Each trail includes a detailed route descriptions, custom trail maps, driving directions, and all the other details you need to get to and use the trail.
DMOZ Open Directory - Hiking Trails Comprehensive list of trail guide websites in the worlds.
The Trail Database The web's largest database of worldwide trail information. Excellent, comprehensive worldwide coverage of websites with trail information for hiking and backpacking in countries around the world.
The Slackpacker's Guide to Hiking Trails and Wilderness Travel Slackpacker.com has worldwide coverage.  They providesaccess to websites with hiking and backpacking trail maps, trip reports, and photographs. It provides quick, organized access to other hiking and backpacking websites. In addition, it allows access to thousands of personal hiking and backpacking sites that are ignored by search engines. 
Trailsource.com This is their hiking section with They have information on over 1,500 hiking and backpacking trails in over 50 countries.
Volunteer Trail Maintenance Projects Volunteer for trail maintenance projects worldwide.
 

 

 
 Hiking and Backpacking Organizations
 
Also see our Adventure Travel section

American Alpine Club.  The premier U.S. mountain climbing club. Check out their excellent Resources links to other sites.
 
American Trails.  A state-by-state guide to hiking trails in the United States and a province-by-province guide to hiking trails in Canada.
 
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).  Your guide to the outdoors for the northeastern United States.
  
Backpack Europe On A  Budget.  This is a very well done site that has a lot of good information for men or women who want to backpack through Western Europe.   This is all based on first hand experience and includes personal advice.
 
Backpacking Western Europe on a Budget.  A good list from a Google search.
 
Climbing and Hiking Clubs and Organizations.  A good worldwide list from a Google search.
 
Colorado Mountain Club.   The Colorado Mountain Club has comprehensive information on hiking and mountain climbing in Colorado, USA, as well as, information on national and international outings.
 
Eurotrip.com.  The Number 1 site for backpacking in Europe. Covers backpacking, student and independent European travel - in depth: facts, reviews, articles, discussion, live reports, and travel advice.
 
 Some Comprehensive Hiking and Backpacking Websites
 
How To See The World.  This is the title of a free, online book written by John Gregory, who has visited over 35 countries. It is subtitled "The Art of European and World Travel Backpacking".  In it, he details all aspects of seeing the world as a backpacker in 25 well-researched chapters.  We thank him for offering his experience to the world.
 
Outside Magazine - Online.  This is the Outside magazine's website.  An excellent place for all things outside the building you are in.
 
Potpourri of Sites + Travel.   We wish they would have chosen a better name for their site which has the best and most comprehensive super list of links to backpacking, tent camping, outfitters, and other travel-related sites. No tricky navigation here. Just a simple, alphabetical list on a single page divided into 3 subheadings. Scroll down to look over the list or use your browser "Edit-Find on this page" feature and type in what you are looking for.   This site is awesome and that's coming from someone over 50!
 
Sierra Club.   No list of hiking and backpacking sites would be complete without a link to the Sierra Club.
 
Trailmonkey Worldwide Hiking Guide.  This is a very ambitious site covering hiking, backpacking and mountain biking all over the world.  They have a good start for on-line trail maps with lots of photographs and other information for your outdoors adventure.
 
Travelpackers.com From planning your trip to making the most of it while on the road, and offer information from travel journals and various ways to keep in touch with family, friends and fellow travelers.
 
Travelpunk.com.  Backpacking, student and budget hostels, hotels, Eurail, air fares, budget tips, currency, vaccinations, weather and an extensive list of many useful links.
 
Webwalking.com - Hiking Page.  Another super-comprehensive site.  They cover walking, hiking and backpacking worldwide with good links to hiking organizations, Usenets, bulletin boards, chat rooms and forums.  They also have an excellent list and links to outdoor stores and advice on buying gear.
 
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